Post # 1
I was recently (1 month ago) promoted to manager of our department over 4 employees. I have had a very difficult time with one employee in general and she gives me a lot of push back and tests her limits (coming in late, not completing her assigned work, constantly complaining, abusing over time).
Today I sent out an email to all my emoloyees that there was mandatory overtime to complete work that needed to be done for the end of the quarter tomorrow.
This was her response to my email:
When there is Mandatory OT and you already know that we are as overworked as we are, it would be appreciated if we knew that you were also sharing in the burden and not walking out of here at a normal time with your hands empty. This is A LOT. You did not take into consideration what was already on our desks.
oFirst of all, I shouldn’t have to explain myself but I probably work twice as hard as everyone else hence why I was promoted to manager. I also come in early but do try to leave at my normal time. I am salaried, they are hourly and get paid time and a half for OT. I. get paid nothing for the extra time I work. Not to mention that I am the manager and will assign work as I feel appropriate. I will also mention that this employee came in an hour late this morning and still has not submitted the PTO request I told her she had to do for her missed hour.
I’m at loss on how to approach her. Her email was out of line. What should be done? Meeting with upper management? Disciplinary action?
Post # 2
I’ve never been a manager myself (and have actually never worked in an office environment) but I eat, sleep, and breathe the Ask A Manager blog. Alison is a great resource, and she may be able to help either directly or by reading through her archives.
She also gets some unbelievably amazing letters from time to time, which is why I read her religiously.
Post # 3
Are they in fact overworked? Why do you not stay and help complete it as well?
Post # 4
Lily_of_the_valley : I’d call her in for a meeting to discuss her email and I’d have a witness. I’d write her up for coming in late, if you have documented conversations that you’ve spoken with her about the issue before.
Id also try to empathize and understand their perspective. Are you highly visible to the employees everyday? Do they feel well supported by you?
I don’t know what your other employees are saying/thinking so it’s hard to judge whether or not this particular employee is an issue or they are the only one willing to speak up. Regardless, you need to demand respect and professionalism.
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
You sent out an email today about mandatory overtime for stuff that has to be completed tomorrow? And they are already overworked? Frankly I’d be a little pissed too if the manager didn’t also step up to help. Whether or not you came in early….
Post # 6
I think that an effective manager leads by example. I don’t think her response, although resistant (but maybe rightly so) is inappropriate if she is in fact overworked and doesn’t get any kudos for how much she does. Reading your email it does seem to me like their work isn’t very appreciated and is seen as “abusing overtime.” You’re the manager of your department, not a dictator.
Post # 7
If you told them the DAY OF that there was mandatory overtime needed to complete things needed by tomorrow, that’s absolutely not enough notice and you shouldn’t expect to just leave on time no matter how early you came without your employees being angry at you.
Post # 8
Sorry bee but as a fellow manger I tend to agree with some of the others. While I don’t get overtime and my team does I’ve definitely stayed back with my team during crunch time.
You’re new to this role and whether you and they like it or not, this is a time where you’ve likely been on of the group and are now overseeing their work. You’ll very likely have some resistance naturally because of that. There’s much more to being a manager than just listing out demands and instructions. First, take a breath and consider if there’s any validity to what is being said. As you do that, remember it’s not personal, its work. Have you been keeping fairly normal hours while they’re in crunch mode? Or has crunch and OT just started with none of you putting in extra hours? If there is validity, make the changes needed. Her approach is certainly poor, but that doesn’t invalidate her impression of the situation.
If it’s not valid, then I’d pull her aside and have a firm but open discussion with her making your expectations very clear. You need your team to trust you and be receptive, so be open to a dialogue as you go into that meeting.
Post # 9
I am also salary. I also have to stay and work overtime and come in early when things need done in our department. Its just expected irregardless of my position in the department or how hard I work or anything else. My direct supervisor also stays and pitches in.
I think you need to sit down with her and find out why she’s feeling the way she feels. Ask her for a list of the tasks that are on her desk (this is something we frequently meet about in my job) to be completed. Are these reoccurring tasks or one time tasks? I would do this for all of the people that report to you so that you can have a better idea of the individual tasks of your team members.
I wouldn’t meet her email with punishment as you seem to want to do, I would try to see her point of view and see if there is actually merit to it before you get defensive.
Post # 10
Lily_of_the_valley : Where I work everyone over a certain grade (so management) does not get overtime (well flexi time because we don’t get paid overtime just time in-lieu) and that is understood because well they are management (and getting paid more). So yeah if we have major policy, project or event work due and my manager or co-ordinator walked out the door at 5pm while we all stayed til 8pm I wouldn’t be impressed either and I would make a stink about it if it happened frequently.
I think you need to really think about this situation because some of the things you are accussing her of sound like the symptoms of being overworked and a stressful work environment.
Post # 11
Can you please show us the email you sent out to the staff?
Also, if I was an hourly employee and my manager told me I was required to work overtime but then she left, I’d be pissed. Managers are paid salary rather than hourly because when the shit hits the fan, they are expected to stick around. You earn a higher rate than they do because you are expected to deal with the hard stuff.
I try to manage my team with the philosophy of “never ask them to do something that I would not be willing to do myself”. Having the attitude of “I am the manager and I will assign work as I see fit” creates the dynamic that you dont really care about them and that’s not always the best way to manage a team. I agree, you are the manager and yes you are in charge, but you could be a little nice about it and frame your responses in a more compassionate way.
Post # 12
- Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY
Another manager here. If you are ordering overtime to complete end of the quarter tasks, you should stay too. Not being paid overtime doesn’t matter when you’re the manager. The best way to instill team effort is for them to see you there joining the effort. You need for them to want to go the extra mile for you.
Attendance and performance should be addressed based on company policy and set standards, that’s pretty straightforward.
As for the email, it was harsh and blunt, but not disciplinary action worthy. I would be more concerned with why she felt compelled to write it.
Post # 13
Saru0211 : Exactly. I could not imagine being asked to stay late to work on a time sensitive project and then having my managers or supervisors waltz out on time because they’re salaried and weren’t being paid to be there.
Post # 14
Lily_of_the_valley : this girl reminds me of an old coworker. She would come in late all the time, not do her work for most of the day, play on her computer, start around 3pm and obviously had to work overtime to even get some work done. She ended up making SO much money in OT that it was hard for her not to stop. The rest of our coworkers did not like her bc she totally abused the system. She was eventually fired. If I were you, I would talk to all of your employees separately to see if they all feel the same way. I don’t really understand the lack of overtime notice. When we had to do overtime, it was realized the day of and our managers didn’t stay to help us bc we had different duties. Maybe it was different at my old company.
Post # 15
The fact that you showed her response verbatim but only summarized what is obviously a sugar-coated version of your communication to your team is a red flag. I think you should investigate why you feel like you are entitled to demand anyone do anything. Managers “direct”, not “dictate”. When there is a pile, my manager stays behind and gets it done. When there is a problem, she pulls that person aside into an office, shuts the door and does her best to understand how that person is feeling. You need to look and capitalize on the strengths in people. Working hard just means you are a “grinder”, that doesn’t mean you have any idea how to effectively lead people.
Maybe this is a first step to learning how to do that.